TIME movies

Zoe Saldana Says Being a Ballerina Is Harder Than Being a Superhero

Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana attends the premiere of Marvel's 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' on July 21, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif. Jason Merritt—Getty Images

The actress had a harder time with her 2000 film Center Stage than she did with Guardians of the Galaxy

Actress Zoe Saldana, of Avatar fame, is going back into orbit in this summer’s Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

In this week’s issue of TIME, the star discusses why she likes movies set in space, her thoughts on what the future will be like and her favorite mix-tape songs. But even though playing the alien assassin-turned-hero Gamora took a lot of work (and a lot of early mornings in the make-up chair to achieve that green-skin look), Saldana says it wasn’t her most grueling role.

For that, fans will have to look a little closer to Earth, to her first-ever film role, in 2000′s Center Stage:

TIME: What’s more physically demanding, being a ballerina or being a superhero?

Saldana: A ballerina, for me. When I was growing up, I wanted it so bad and I knew that I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be. It was very disheartening and stressful when I used to dance. But I guess ballet sort of trained me for action.

I can see that.

And it’s fun, also because of being a girl. The fact that you’re able to kind of discover all the things that you can do if you commit to it, if you practice enough. You go, ‘Oh my God, I can do this.’ It makes you feel really empowered and encouraged.

Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theaters Aug. 1.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser